The Los Angeles Lakers were big players at the NBA trade deadline this week, shipping Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to Cleveland in exchange for expiring contracts of Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye (plus a 2018 first round pick).
Although the moves didn’t make the Lakers any better in the immediate future, they’ve already basically given up on this season. They are 5.5 games out of a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, but they shed a massive amount of contract money with their deadline day moves. They now have enough cap space to offer two max contracts to big name free agents in the off-season. And it just so happens that one of the biggest upcoming free agents was in L.A. on Thursday night for a game.
Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder rode into LaLa Land expecting to beat up on the lowly Lakers. Instead, a massive third quarter outburst by the Purple and Gold gave the Lakers a 17 point going into the final frame. The game itself wasn’t that notable (unless you’re wondering why the Thunder look so awful lately), but the home Lakers fans took the opportunity to do a little recruiting of their own.
Lakers fans at Staples center chanting "We Want Paul" while playing the Thunder and Paul George pic.twitter.com/A7LTvHjCv5
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) February 9, 2018
Yes, the crowd at the Staples Center starting chanting “We want Paul!” at the pending free agent forward. The five-time All-Star does have a player option to stay with the Thunder in 2018-19, but he will almost certainly opt out of that deal to seek a larger term and more overall dollars. He will make just under $20 million in 2017-18 and is still just 27-years-old.
The Lakers have been trash for a while now, but there’s no arguing that the NBA, as a whole, is better when the Lakers, one of their most historic and prestigious franchises, is competitive. Expect them to splash out the cash and make a big impact this summer.